With more cities legislating for the use of green roofs, one Israeli-Canadian dream architect Moshe Safdie has taken the task to hand to inspire the world and show us how it’s done. While we’d take a real forest anyway, if you are lost in the urban jungle be mesmerized by Moshe Safdie Crystal skywalk, a 300 meter cylindrical promenade some 250 meters up in the sky.
Moshe Safdie on the Crystal:
Located in the Chinese megacity Chongqing and costing a whollong $3.4 billion, Safdie likely garnered some tips from the Sky Garden in London, where developers were tasked to create a public garden high in the sky. Green roofs on a several story city complex are already a challenge. My designer professor friends tried building a tiny one on their roof in Tel Aviv, inspired by facing the green building of Checkpoint across from them, but after one year it leaked, they had to take it down.
No doubt Safdie faced these technical challenges with water, humidity, the need for hydroponics systems and fertigation equipment to keep the forest of plants alive in this real life urban jungle. We will see how architecturally sound the construction is as the years go by.The Crystal skywalk project built as part of Raffles City, was planned by both Safdie and CapitaLand, one of Asia’s largest real estate development companies. Some 3,000 people a day can visit the Crystal given they keep social distancing.
This new historic site in Chongqing has been built at the center of the city, in a densely developed infrastructure.
The Crystal is part of a large housing complex, hotels, retail space, as well as a subway, bus, and ferry terminals.Crystal is set atop 4 of 8 towers in this multi-use project called Raffles City, and includes an exploration deck, gardens with hundreds of trees, artificial pools, bars, restaurants, a hotel lobby – and also a view of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers below through a glass-bottom, open-air viewing deck.
All in all some 12,000 tons of steel, 3,000 sections of glass panels and 5,000 aluminum panels were used in the construction of the Crystal.
Moshe Safdie has always been a dreamer among architects and joins the ranks of other beloved Middle East architects such as the late Zaha Hadid from Iraq – the first female and first Muslim to win the Pritzker Prize.